Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity Coalition

In Spring 2018, the University of Tennessee’s Department of Nutrition, under leadership from the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Nutrition Leadership and Education Program faculty, Drs. Marsha Spence and Betsy Anderson Steeves, and funded trainees in the program, took over facilitation of the coalition; and it was renamed the East Tennessee Childhood Obesity Coalition (ETCOC).

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital remains as a partner to support ETCOC and continues to advocate for obesity prevention policies.

Healthy Kids Club (HKC)

This 12-week nutrition and physical activity program is implemented after school to elementary students. Each week participants receive 30 minutes of nutrition education which includes a taste test and 30 minutes of structured physical activity. A pre-
and post-assessment are used to evaluate the program.

Ronald McDonald House and the Siddiqui Foundation provided funding to administer the program to 31 schools during the 2016-2017 school year. A total of 12,622 children participated. Participating schools increased their average number of pacer laps by 4.44 laps and their nutrition knowledge showed a 22.7% increase.

For the 2017-18 school year, nine schools participated in HKC, with a total of 4,154 participants. Improvement was shown in the average number of laps completed during the pacer assessments and in their nutrition knowledge.

Currently, the HKC program is conducted in five schools with a weekly average of 270 participants. Seven additional programs will be implemented in the spring of 2019.

Other programs East Tennessee Children’s Hospital has coordinated to reduce childhood obesity over the last 3 years include:

  • Health Happens (HH), a 12-week nutrition and physical activity program that is provided to pre-schools
  • Grub Club (GC), a gardening program
  • Kids Can Bike (KCB), a weekly bike program held at Safety City for four weeks
    • In 2018 the KCB program transitioned to the City of Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department
  • Knox Rocks (KR), a 12-week intramural sports program funded by the United Way

Nutrition education fights childhood obesity